Guest blog, Science@Home

Guest blog. 5 real life Fantastic Beasts and where to find them.

My final day in Barbados is finally here which means I have one final slot for a guest blogger.

I am a bit of a Potterhead at heart and loved the new addition to the Harry Potter universe when the first Fantastic Beasts film got released at the end of last year. So amongst my scicomm community on Instagram and Twitter, I have come across many different science bloggers who specialise in many different fields and I got inspired to include something a little different on my blog as part of my Science@Home feature and send you on a bit of a fantastic beast treasure hunt.

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But obviously this is by no means my area of expertise so let me introduce you to my final guest blogger for April  who writes the That Biologist blog 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing photos from your hunt and I’ll be back blogging from Monday. Enjoy your weekend everyone 🙂

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Hi my name is Laura! I study conservation biology and I am totally obsessed with nature. The world just outside your door is full of fantastic beasts, although some look small they are far more interesting than you might think.

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Let me introduce or perhaps reintroduce you to the magical creatures that might be closer than you think. If you think you’re up to the challenge this guide could be a way of finding your own beasts!

  1. The Woodlouse

Forget what you’ve heard about these amazing creatures because trust me they are far cooler than you ever thought they were. They are from the crustacean family meaning they are related to things like lobsters and crabs however I wouldn’t go eating these as they are supposed to taste like urine! Woodlice have evolved from being an aquatic species and need to still be in a moist environment as they lose water easily through there cuticle. They also have paddle shaped hind legs which is a throwback from their aquatic days. Although they make some people squirm they are incredibly important to the environment and are fantastic for gardens as they turn over soil and are important for things to biodegrade.

The Best Thing About Them: There are over 45 different species of woodlice for you to go and find!

Where To Find Them: In any damp and dark places, they love rotten wood and rocks!

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  1. Lesser Horseshoe Bat

Bats are an incredibly important part of the UKs wildlife. Lesser Horseshoe bats are about the size of a plum and have distinctive horseshoe shaped noses. They feed on flies, wasps and spiders!

The Best Thing About Them: They use echolocation to get around and find their prey. Lesser horseshoes can be picked up on bat radars with a frequency call of 110khz.

Where To Find Them: Caves, barns and old houses are their favourite place to roost but you are more likely to see them at dusk in the summer when they come out to feed.

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  1. Hedgehog

Hedgehogs are fantastic creatures, they eat snails and worms. There spikes are their defence mechanism and if they feel threatened they will roll into a bal. They love piles of logs which is why its important to check before you light a bonfire in case a hedgehog is inside.

The Best Thing About Them: Hedgehogs can run, climb and even swim!

Where To Find Them: In bushes and hedgerows, they love any piles of logs! They are quite shy so be very quiet if you hope to see them!

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  1. Great crested newt

These newts are the largest species of newt in the UK. They have dark brown or black skin but on their bellies is orange with block spots. They live in ponds and water systems but due to a decline in habitat the population has decreased. However, you can help them by protecting ponds in your local area!

The Best Thing About Them: During the breeding season males develop a jagged crest which has a break at the base of the tail and females take on a ‘bulky’ appearance.

Where To Find Them: Ponds and ditches are the best places to find them, particularly surrounded by grassland. If you do get lucky and find them make sure to leave them alone as they are really rare!

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  1. Toad

Unlike frogs toads tend to walk around, they eat slugs and snails. Unlike frogs, toads spend a lot of time away from water. In fact unless its breeding time you are more likely to find them in woody areas. However they do go through the same process from tadpols like frogs.

The Best Thing About Them: They can live up to 40 years!

Where To Find Them: Ponds and other damp areas. They love woody areas particularly with rivers running through them or at least that’s what my local toad likes!

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That’s all I have for you today! If you’ve enjoyed reading about my fantastic beasts feel free to pop over to my blog thatbiologist.wordpress.com for more! A huge thank you to Sophie for having me on your wonderful blog! Till next time I hope you all do well on your hunts for fantastic beasts!

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